“Minds at Work,” Lisa Zunshine (3/22)

“Minds at Work”

Lisa Zunshine, University of Kentucky, Lexington
March 22, 2013, 4:00 PM
CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave
Room 4406 / English Student Lounge

This talk will provide a brief overview of the rapidly growing interdisciplinary field known as “cognitive cultural studies” and then offer several case studies of integrating research from cognitive science into literary criticism.

Lisa Zunshine is Bush-Holbrook Professor of English at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, where she teaches courses in Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature and culture. She is the author or editor of eleven books, including, most recently, Getting Inside Your Head: What Cognitive Science Can Tell Us about Popular Culture (2012), and the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship (2007).

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“Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Empire: British Literature in the Eighteenth-century,” Suvir Kaul

On behalf of Christopher Eng and Melissa Phruksachart, I am posting this event that will kick-off a series of talks this spring. (Please RSVP for this event: engchristopher [at] yahoo [dot] com):

We am very excited to introduce the “Mentoring of Future Faculty of Color Project,” generously sponsored by the Diversity Projects Development Fund. Developed in conversation with many students in our program, this initiative aims to offer scholarly and professional mentorship to students of color in CUNY PhD Programs by bringing in faculty of color from a variety of U.S. universities to share both their scholarship and their experiences in navigating the academy.

Each of these scholars will provide a talk on their current research. In addition to the lectures, we will have a lunch with the speakers and participate in a colloquial discussion geared toward professional matters including publication, tenure, and the navigation of departments and institutions as a scholar of color. Please e-mail either one of us off-list if you are interested in joining any of the lunch conversations (for the purposes of a preliminary head count).

“Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Empire: British Literature in the Eighteenth-century”
Suvir Kaul (English at UPenn)
Fri 4/19 @ 2PM – Room 4406, English Lounge

This paper will explore the idea that “Cosmopolitanism,” as a term, an idealized state of being, and a cultural and political idea, comes into vogue in historical circumstances where the putative attributes of cosmopolitanism—tolerance of, even ease with, people of different nationalities, cultures, religions, and races—are disabled in practice. Eighteenth-century English and European commentators on cultural difference derived most of their operative sociological and historical categories from the explosion of information produced by commercial and colonial expansion across the globe. Out of this welter of knowledge emerged the theories of kinship and social development that underpinned imperialist ideas of human difference as well as more cosmopolitan arguments that insisted on the recuperative powers of cultural knowledge and human sympathy. Such cosmopolitanism was a forceful, though necessarily compromised, response to the cultural coercions of empire. I will show that eighteenth-century literary texts are a fruitful archive for discussions of the forms and vocabularies of cosmopolitanism, and also venture a larger, more speculative claim: cosmopolitanism, that is, the awareness of the mediated relations between provinces and nations, nations and colonies, and between competitive empires in history and in the contemporary moment, enabled “English Literature” to come into institutional being in the eighteenth century.

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“Rousseau and the Great Thinkers” (11/2)

Friday, November 2nd
9:00 am- 6:30pm

Speakers: Benjamin R. Barber, David Bates,Bryan Garsten, Jonathan Israel, Anthony La VopaJames Miller, Helena Rosenblatt, Jerrold Seigel, David Sorkin, Barbara Taylor, Richard Tuck, Maurizio Viroli

Title of Conference: “Rousseau and the Great Thinkers”
Location: Graduate Center, CUNY, The Skylight Room (9100)

Join us for this 2-day Rousseau Conference, which continues on Saturday November 3rd at New York University. For a full schedule of the 2-day conference please click here.

What is Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Place in the Western Political Tradition? This conference will commemorate the tercentenary of  Rousseau’s birth and the 250th anniversary of two of his most important writings on politics and morals: On the Social Contractand Emile, both originally published in 1762. Internationally renowned scholars from the US and Europe will discuss his enduring stature and legacy through a comparison with other great thinkers including Machiavelli, Montaigne, Moses Mendelssohn, Mary Wollstonecraft, Edmund Burke and Karl Marx. Join us for a series of public talks on the great thinkers, to be followed by a second day of talks at New York University on November 3.

PROGRAM for November 2, 2012:



William P. Kelly (President, Graduate Center, CUNY)

Helena Rosenblatt (Graduate Center, CUNY)


Maurizio Viroli (Princeton), Rousseau and Machiavelli

James Miller (New School), Rousseau and Montaigne

Richard Tuck (Harvard), Rousseau and Hobbes


Bryan Garsten (Yale), Rousseau and Rameau

David Sorkin (The Graduate Center, CUNY), Rousseau and Mendelssohn

12:30-2:00: lunch break


Anthony LaVopa (North Carolina State University), Rousseau and A.L. Thomas

Barbara Taylor (University of East London), Rousseau and Wollstonecraft


Jonathan Israel (Institute for Advanced Study), Rousseau and thephilosophes

Benjamin Barber (The Graduate Center), Rousseau and Burke


Jerrold Seigel (NYU), Rousseau and Marx

David Bates (Berkeley), Rousseau and Schmitt

For the Program on Saturday November 3rd at New York University for “Rousseau Nature and Culture” please click here:http://french.as.nyu.edu/object/rousseau_2012.html

download the Rousseau Tricentennial poster (PDF)

Co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Switzerland, Vacheron Constantin, and PhD Program in History

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“Archaeology of Babel: Critical Method and Colonial Law”

Wednesday, October 24th

Speaker: Siraj Ahmed
Title: “Archaeology of Babel: Critical Method and Colonial Law”
Location: Graduate Center, CUNY, Room 5409

The Eighteenth-Century Interdisciplinary Studies Group and the Postcolonial Studies Group are proud to present Siraj Ahmed, who will be discussing his current project entitled Archaeology of Babel: Critical Method and Colonial Law and his forthcoming article in Critical Inquiry, “Notes from Babel: Toward a Colonial History of Comparative Literature.”  Siraj Ahmed is an assistant professor of English at Lehman College and the author of The Stillbirth of Capital: Enlightenment Writing and Colonial India (Stanford University Press, 2012). His work also appears in The Postcolonial Enlightenment (Oxford University Press, 2009) and Representations. Kristina Huang, a CUNY Graduate Center doctoral student of English, will be the respondent for this event.

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“Did Eighteenth-Century Universities have Sexual Underworlds?” (10/26)

Friday, October 26th
4 PM-6 PM

Speaker: George Rousseau (Oxford University)
Title: “Did Eighteenth-Century Universities have Sexual Underworlds?”
Location: Graduate Center, CUNY, Room 9204

The Eighteenth-Century Interdisciplinary Studies Group is proud to present George Rousseau, Professor of Modern History at Oxford University, for a talk revisiting aspects of sexual transgression first explored in Sexual Underworlds of the Enlightenment (1987), which he coedited with Roy Porter. Rousseau has taught literature and history at Harvard, UCLA, and Oxford University, where he currently serves as Co-Director of the Centre for the History of Childhood. He has published widely on the Enlightenment, focusing principally on medicine, science, and sex. His most recent publication is The Notorious Sir John Hill: The Man Destroyed by Ambition in the Era of Celebrity  (2012).



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